The effect of recipient-specific surgical issues on outcome of liver transplantation in biliary atresia.
Biliary atresia (BA), the most common reason for orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) in children, is often accompanied by unique and challenging anatomical variations. This study examines the effect of surgical-specific issues related to the presence of complex vascular anatomic variants on the outcome of OLT for BA. The study group comprised 944 patients who were enrolled in the Studies of Pediatric Liver Transplantation (SPLIT) registry and underwent OLT for BA over an 11-year period. 63 (6.7%) patients met the study definition of complex vascular anomalies (CVA). Patient survival, but not graft survival, was significantly lower in the CVA group, (83 vs. 93 % at 1-year post-OLT). The CVA group had a significantly higher incidence of all reoperations, total biliary tract complications, biliary leaks and bowel perforation. The most frequent cause of death was infection, and death from bacterial infection was more common in the CVA group. Pretransplant portal vein thrombosis and a preduodenal portal vein were significant predictors of patient survival but not graft survival. This study demonstrates that surgical and technical factors have an effect on the outcome of BA patients undergoing OLT. However, OLT in these complex patients is technically achievable with an acceptable patient and graft survival.